BY RICH PALZEWIC
GREEN BAY – Playing without one of the best players in the Fox River Classic Conference, the Bay Port football team showed it could still get the job done.
After falling behind by two touchdowns to Green Bay Notre Dame late in the first half, the Pirates scored the last 28 points of the game in a 35-21 victory over the Tritons on September 22 at Ted Fritsch Field.
No. 4 ranked Bay Port (D1) improved to 6-0 overall and won its 15th straight FRCC game, just two shy of Ashwaubenon’s mark of 17 from 2012-2014. No. 1 ranked Notre Dame (D3) dropped to 5-1 and lost for the sixth time in a row to the Pirates.
“We found a way to win when we weren’t very good and Notre Dame had our number early,” Bay Port coach Gary Westerman said. “We just found a way to get it done. I couldn’t be prouder of the kids.
“We were not very good in the first half. We were a mess on offense and gave up some big plays on defense, but we shut them out in the second half. Good football teams find a way to win, and we did that (Friday night).”
Bay Port learned earlier on Friday that wide receiver Cordell Tinch, who caught 24 passes for 378 yards and five touchdowns in the first five games, would not play. Bay Port does not comment on why student-athletes are not available for athletic contests.
“That’s life, man. That’s adversity,” said Westerman. “That’s just dealing with it. Our kids found a way. We had different kids in different spots they didn’t practice. They went and played football. It certainly affected us not having (Cordell) out there.”
The Pirates were on their heels early as the Tritons jumped out to a 21-7 lead near the end of the half, but that’s when quarterback Isaac Krause took over. After a Notre Dame score put them up by 14, Krause raced 80 yards for a TD on the first play of the ensuing possession to make it 21-14 heading into halftime.
“We have one of the best o-lines in the state,” said Krause, who rushed for 203 yards on 28 carries with three touchdowns. “We were able to find that hole, get some blocking and score some touchdowns. We never panicked at all when we fell behind early.”
Krause, who has eight rushing TDs in the last three games, was also 9-of-17 passing for 126 yards and a touchdown. He did throw two interceptions on the evening, though.
Notre Dame seemed poised to take a 14-0 lead late in the first quarter, but Spencer Van Pietersom picked off a Wes Glime pass inside the 20 to shift the momentum. Instead, Krause scored his first TD three minutes later on a 2-yard plunge to tie the score at 7 after one.
Krause hit Jacob Calawerts for a 30-yard TD that tied the score at 21 with 8:06 left in the third, and then put Bay Port ahead for the first time four minutes later on a 15-yard TD run.
Sophomore running back Isaiah Gash ended the scoring with a nifty 5-yard run with just over 5 minutes left to put the game away.
Defensively, Seth Wood had an interception and Call Verlanic recovered a fumble for Bay Port. The Pirates’ defense limited the Tritons to just 234 yards, while the offense amassed 453 of its own. Bay Port had an impressive 30 minutes, 49 seconds, of possession with the ball, which eventually wore down a Tritons’ team that had many players playing both ways.
Gash added 95 yards rushing on 11 carries for the Pirates, who ended up with 327 yards rushing as a team.
Note: Bay Port will take on undefeated Green Bay Southwest on September 29 at home. The Trojans were a 42-7 winner over Sheboygan South in week six.
Bay Port – 7, 7, 14, 7 – 35
Notre Dame – 7, 14, 0, 0 – 21